Updated Information for Volunteers

Thank you for registering as a volunteer with Salem Harvest! We look forward to meeting you. By volunteering with Salem Harvest, you are agreeing to the Terms of Participation . Here is other helpful information.

First, registration

Everyone who attends a harvest must first be registered as a volunteer. Once you are registered, you are eligible to sign up for harvests, and you don’t have to register again in subsequent years. You can go to the Volunteer page to renew your registration and to update your contact information. You can also include a password that allows you to instantly see the status of your harvest signups and to get on waiting lists faster. It also gives you access to My Page, a web page that lists your contact information, current signups, and harvest history.

Find out about harvests

For only a few very large harvests, we will send an email to announce the harvest, with a description of the harvest and a link to the Harvests page, but for most harvests an email is not sent. All harvests needing volunteers are posted on the Harvests page and that is your best source of information about harvests. Sometimes we find out about crop donations on very short notice, so check the Harvests page often.

Sign up for a harvest

Open harvests are posted on the Harvests page. To sign up, click on the harvest link, and then type in your name. You must type it exactly as you did when you first registered, so we can match your record in our database.

If you want to help at the harvest by donating a half hour of your time, check the box below your name and the harvest leader will talk to you at the harvest if we need help. If you assist at the harvest, you will still have time to pick produce for yourself and to donate.

You must read and check off two boxes about the Release and Waiver of Liability to be added to the roster. The first indicates that you have read the Release; the second indicates that you agree to and will comply with its terms. Because you are indicating that you agree with this waiver, you must not sign up other people for harvests. There is also a check box saying that you agree to the Terms of Participation . Finally, click on the button that says ‘Signup for this harvest.’

How does the waiting list work?

If all the roster spots for a harvest are full, you may have the option to get on a waiting list. Click the waiting list link and then enter your name and check off the boxes as you would for a regular sign up. You will be sent an email that asks you to confirm your request for the waiting list by clicking on a link in the email. You will then receive another email confirming your place on the waiting list. If enough people cancel from the regular roster, you will receive an email telling you that you have been promoted to the regular roster. Be sure to check email often if you are on the waiting list so that you do not miss your chance.

If you have set a password and a roster is full, you can get on the waiting list immediately by entering the password after signing up.

As the harvest approaches, if you know that you will not be able to attend if you are promoted, then use the other link in the last email to cancel your waiting list spot. This may allow someone below you on the waiting list to go to the harvest.

If you have included a password in your registration or when you updated your contact information, you can check your waiting list position or roster status instantly without waiting to receive an email.

How will I know the exact harvest location?

After you sign up, you’ll see a page with the address of the harvest and other helpful information such as needed supplies. This is the only place the actual address appears on the website so write it down or print it out.

You will also receive an email with the same information and a link back to that web page. If you want to check out your history of participation or have the email resent, click the Signups button on the Volunteer page

Please cancel if you can't make it!

If your schedule changes, please cancel in a timely manner so someone else can take your spot. The email you receive will include a link where you can cancel. Your courtesy in this matter will help us schedule the right number of volunteers for the available produce and thereby assure fuller harvesting of the available produce.

When you arrive

When you arrive Salem Harvest volunteers will show you where to park and help you check in. We’ll provide a brief orientation with helpful tips about harvesting, information about the property, and food handling safety requirements.

Every adult who attends a harvest must be a registered volunteer, have signed up online for that harvest and checked off the boxes indicating that they have read and agree with the Release and Waiver of Liability. Children (under 18 years old) do not need to register or sign up, but must be supervised by an adult who is on the roster.

Volunteers donate half or more of what they pick to the Marion-Polk Food Share and can keep the rest for their family’s use. Produce is not weighed until after the harvest, so use your best judgment to determine how much to pour or place in the food share bin. At some harvests all the donated produce will be picked first and then volunteers pick for themselves. This will always be explained at orientation.

That is all the basic information! Please keep reading to find answers to questions that volunteers often have about Salem Harvest.

We depend on you!

At each harvest we depend on people who are willing to volunteer a portion of their time to help the harvest run smoothly. If you are available to help direct traffic, assist at the check-in table, or help at the donation station, check off the volunteer box when you sign up for a harvest. If your help is needed, the harvest leader may email you beforehand or assign you a task when you arrive.

Who runs Salem Harvest?

Salem Harvest is a volunteer powered organization with one paid staff person. It was started by a group of South Salem neighbors in 2010. Our mission is to connect people with food that would otherwise go to waste, reduce hunger throughout Marion and Polk counties, and build an inclusive community. The leadership team volunteers many hours of their own time to make harvests happen.

As a non-profit organization we are entirely dependent on donations to support our efforts. If you share our mission and would like to help, click the “Donate” button on our Support page.

What should I do if my contact information changes?

If you are changing contact information such as your address or phone number, go to the Volunteer page and click on 'Update'. If you need to make a name change or email address change and don’t have access to your old address, write to: webmaster@salemharvest.org.

Why won't the signup page let me on the roster?

You may have typed your name differently than you did when you initially registered. You also need to check off the Release and Waiver of Liability and Terms of Participation boxes. If you are still unable to access the roster, contact the webmaster at webmaster@salemharvest.org or (503) 400-6618 ext 1.

I forgot to write down the harvest address!

The email you receive after you sign up includes a link to information about the harvest, including the address. If you have signed up for the harvest but have lost this email, go to the Volunteer page and click on the ‘Signups’ button. The email will be resent to you. If you have any trouble, contact the webmaster at webmaster@salemharvest.org.

How are harvests planned?

Harvest leaders meet with crop owners to scout the property and discuss harvest logistics. The size of the roster is determined by the amount of produce, the number of available volunteer staff, available produce transportation, crop owner preferences, and parking space. Our goal is to accommodate as any people as possible.

We are indebted to property owners and commercial growers who share our mission. Commercial growers are able to donate for a variety of reasons. Sometimes produce is left over because it wasn’t sold or wasn’t ripe at the time of harvest. Some crops are unsuitable for machine harvests, and other crops are too small to fulfill a cannery contract. These and other factors mean that we don’t know which large-scale crops will be available each season, and often have only a few days’ notice to plan harvests.

Can I bring my kids?

We encourage parents to bring their children; however, not all harvests allow children and some harvests will be more suitable for kids than others. Please read the harvest description on the Harvests page. If children are not allowed or there is an age limit for children at a particular harvest, it will be noted there. If there is no mention of kids in the description, all kids are welcome.

Some farms where we harvest have strict rules about no children or age restrictions for kids. At other times, we are harvesting near moving vehicles or other hazards are present and we restrict ages for safety concerns. We do our best to describe the harvesting conditions; as a parent, please consider your child’s age and abilities before bringing them to a harvest.

All volunteers under the age of 18 must be actively supervised by an adult who is on the harvest roster. Also, no one under the age of 13 may climb a ladder, and climbing trees is never allowed. Youth under age 18 don’t need to register as volunteers, but parents are required to check off the waiver form, agreeing to provide supervision.

We believe that harvesting with Salem Harvest is a valuable educational experience and a great opportunity for young folks to give back to the community.

Do I have to live in Salem?

Most of our harvests take place in the Salem area. However, you do not have to live in Salem to participate. We have many registered volunteers throughout the Willamette Valley.

What should I bring to the harvest?

  • Bring clean containers for the produce you pick.
  • Bring water to drink in a non-glass container, and please take care of any bathroom needs before arriving. We will not have access to a restroom.
  • A ladder will be helpful at many harvests. We always provide as much information as possible about the height of the trees and the fruit, so that you can make the decision about whether or not to bring a ladder. We will usually provide orchard ladders when they are useful, and we ask volunteers to share in shifts. If you have an orchard ladder, you are encouraged to bring it. Step ladders are not as stable as orchard ladders, but they can be useful where the ground is level and the trees are short. Extension ladders are not useful. No one under age 13 is allowed to climb any ladder.
  • You may want to bring gloves for handling ladders or other tools.
p>What should I wear?

Dress for the weather. We suggest sunblock, a long-sleeved T-shirt, long pants and a hat (trees and fields are often dusty).Closed-toe shoes are required for all harvests.

Has the produce been sprayed with chemicals?

Our harvests take place at a wide variety of properties, from 10-acre orchards, to urban backyards, to 50-acre squash fields. We ask the property owner whether or not their produce has been sprayed and we include that information when we schedule the harvest.

Do I have to stay for the entire time?

When planning a harvest, our plan includes having all volunteers there for the full 2-hour harvest. The more time everyone helps even after picking enough for their family’s use, the more produce there is for hungry families in our community, and there is less produce going to waste. So, staying for the entire time is highly encouraged, and we understand that sometimes circumstances do arise and volunteers may need to leave early.

At small, backyard harvests we encourage people to stay until the crop is picked.

Why do harvests fill so quickly?

Salem Harvest has very dedicated volunteers and many of them check the Harvest page frequently for new postings. With about 1,000 distinct individuals participating per year, popular harvest do fill quickly.

When a harvest is posted, we believe it is most fair to notify all volunteers at the same time through the Harvests page or, very rarely, by email when a higher than average number of volunteers are needed. These are the only ways that we publicize harvests unless we think that we may not get enough volunteers in time. There is no practical way to rotate signup opportunities.

Why aren't there more harvests?

Salem Harvest relies on donations from crop owners. While we do want crop owners to be aware of our service, we do not contact specific farmers to ask them to participate. After a crop is donated, our leadership team considers how many harvests will be needed to harvest the produce. We also consider our ability to staff the harvest, provide parking space and accommodate requests from the crop owner.

Who should I contact if I have other questions?

Please check out the Contacts Page. We are always happy to help.